"Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is releasing two long-awaited rules aimed at improving the safety of imported foods, which now make up about 15 percent of the U.S. food supply.
The measures, mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act, will require that importers verify their suppliers are employing prevention-based food safety practices and create a system for certifying third-party auditors. The agency is also extending the comment period for two other key rules, preventive controls and produce safety, another 60 days to help stakeholders consider the proposals as a package."
"Sandra Eskin, director of the food safety campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts, called the new rules a “huge step forward.”
“We’re thrilled that we’ll finally get to read these proposals,” she said.
According to Pew, 8 of the 19 multistate foodborne illness outbreaks that have occurred since President Obama signed FSMA into law in January 2011 were linked to imported foods, including mangoes, tuna scrape, cucumbers, and other items. That number includes the current 9-state hepatitis A outbreak linked to pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey that has sickened 153 people, 66 of whom were hospitalized.
“The longer it takes to get these rules implemented, the more people will get sick who don’t need to get sick,” Eskin said."